California Governor Backs Raise in Minimum Wage to $10/hr

California Governor Gerry Brown Jr. joined with top leadership in the state's legislature on Wednesday to announce their support for a new bill that would raise the state's minimum wage.

With the support of Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, tthe governor endorsed Assembly Bill 10, which will raise the minimum wage in California from the current rate of $8.00 per hour, to $9 per hour by July 2014, then to $10.00 per hour in January 2016. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,” said Governor Brown. “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”

The state legislature goes into recess on Sept. 13, so the timing is tight, and many business owners have voiced their frustration and opposition to the bill, which they say moves the wage up too high and too quickly.

A study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses warns that the move could cost California nearly 70,000 jobs.

“For millions of California’s hard working minimum wage employees, a few extra dollars a week can make a huge difference to help them provide for their families,” said Senate President pro Tempore Steinberg. “They deserve a modest boost and after six years, an increase in California’s minimum wage is the right thing to do.”

“The real winner here is the economy. A $10 hour minimum wage boosts earnings by $4,000 a year and will put $2.6 billion dollars back into the hands of workers,” said Speaker Pérez. “This is money that will be spent at grocery stores, on school supplies and invested in education, and that ultimately strengthens the recovery and ensures California’s job market continues growing faster than the rest of the nation.”

AB 10 will raise California’s minimum wage in two one-dollar increments, from $8 per hour today to $9 per hour, effective July 1, 2014 and from $9 per hour to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2016. More than 90 percent of minimum wage workers in California are over the age of 20, and 25 percent of California children – nearly 2.4 million – live in a household with one minimum wage-earning parent.

“AB 10 is about equity. It puts more money directly into the pockets of workers struggling to provide food, clothes, and housing for their families. I’m proud to author this measure on behalf of hard working families in California,” said Assemblymember Alejo.